To Canaan's Land I'm On My Way
The New Testament refers to the promises God has made to us as "precious and magnificent" (2 Peter 1:3). Other words associated with the promises of God are "glory" and "excellence" and "power."
Sometimes it is hard for us to understand just how precious and rich these promises are because of their spiritual nature. Jesus used many parables to illustrate the value of His kingdom. In doing so, Jesus used physical examples from our world to illustrate spiritual truths concerning the value of these Divine promises.
Another way that the Holy Spirit signifies the value of the promises of God is by drawing parallels with historical events. One prominent parallel used numerous times in the New Testament is that between God's people today and His people during the time of the Exodus. When we consider the promises of God made to the Israelites of Exodus and compare them to those made to Christians, we find similar parallels that ought to help us see the "preciousness" of God's promises to us.
I Will Bring You Out
"Say therefore to the sons of Israel, 'I am the LORD (Jehovah), and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians..." (Exodus 6:6a). The Children of Israel served in Egypt under the harshest of conditions. Their work was physically exhausting under normal circumstances, but it was made even more difficult by forcing the slaves to make the bricks without the use of straw.
One does not have to be loaded with back-breaking physical labor to be burdened though. Just as God promised to bring the Israelites out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, Jesus promises to give us rest from the mental, spiritual and emotional burdens of life (Matthew 11:28-30). He gives us the "peace of God" (Philippians 4:6,7). Why go through life burdened with despair when one can be free in knowing the truth (John 8:31, 32).
I Will Deliver You
"...and I will deliver you from their bondage." (Exodus 6:6b). The Egyptians were powerful. The Israelites did not have it within their power to break the shackles. Without God's help, they were doomed.
Today, as well, our only hope is in Christ Jesus. Sin is too cruel a taskmaster. It will take everything from us that is worth anything. To be sure, sin has its rewards, but nothing it offers is eternal except spiritual death (Romans 6:16; 23). Even as God promised to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage, and just as Israel could not save themselves, God promises to deliver us from the curse of slavery to sin. God is able to deliver us from "the domain of darkness" (Colossians 1:13).
I Will Redeem You
"I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments." (Exodus 6:6c). To "redeem" something or someone is to buy them back. The Lord promised to "redeem" the children of Israel. He would do so "with an outstretched arm" which means by His own might. His redemption would also come by means of "great judgments" which probably refers to the ten plagues and the destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.
Today, we think of Christ Jesus and the spiritual redemption He makes possible. It is by His power, through His sacrifice on the cross, that we are redeemed from our sins (Romans 5:6 Ephesians 1:7). It is by His stripes we are healed. It was on the first day of Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection that sinners were first told to "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). It was by God's "outstretched arm" that three thousand souls were redeemed from sin that day (Acts 2:41). And, the day you responded in the same way, the Lord stretched out His arm once again to redeem; that time it was you being redeemed from your sin!
I Will Take You For My People
"Then I will take you for My people..." (Exodus 6:7a). God loved the people of Israel. He nurtured them and protected them. These were God's own people; His own possession. The Canaanites were living on the land that God had centuries before declared belonging to Abraham's descendants.
This is exactly what the Christian is today. The Lord reminds us that we are not our own but have "been bought with a price" (I Corinthians 6:19,20). As His people, we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession" (I Peter 2:9). It is time to live our lives with the confidence fitting those who praise God as our Eternal Father.
I Will Be Your God
"...and I will be your God..." (Exodus 6:7b). There had been many gods in Egypt. But there is only one true God. There are many gods today. There is greed and selfishness and pride. But still today, there is only one true God (1 Corinthians 8:5,6; Colossians 3:5). Not only does the Christian identify with God, but God also identifies with the Christian. When one of His people suffer, God shares in that grief. This is why Jesus accused Saul of "persecuting Me" when Saul was persecuting Christians (Acts 26:14,15). We need never face the problems of life alone (2 Corinthians 6:18)!
I Will Bring You to the Land
"And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob..." (Exodus 6:8a). It was a long journey Israel had to make through the wilderness to get to the land of promise. It is certain that the nation could not survive the journey at all without the providence of God. What Israel had to do was to respect and trust in God. They had to do the marching. They had to move at God's command.
The New Testament places us in the wilderness today. We are not at home in this world, but as we live by faith we are marching toward home (1 Peter 2:11). Though the journey sometimes seems filled with peril, we are confident because we know that God is with us. But like Israel of old, we must be willing to do the marching. We must move at God's command (Hebrews 3:14-19; 4:1,2).
I Will Give The Land to You For a Possession
"...and I will give it to you for a possession, I am the LORD." (Exodus 6:8b). The journey, though difficult at times, would not last forever. The goal was the land of Canaan, the land described as "flowing with milk and honey" which had been promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This land was to be the inheritance of Abraham's descendants.
Though on a journey that is at times difficult, we understand that we have an inheritance waiting for us; a place more beautiful than Canaan of old. It is described in the pages of the Bible variously as a paradise garden, a city with streets of gold, an incorruptible crown of life and as a treasure. This will be home. There is no place like it. Let us never be fooled into abandoning the journey we must make to reach it (1 Peter 1:3-5).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 14.9; September 2007